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Published 1st June, 2017 in Business and Economy, Living in NSW

The NSW Government has developed a new package of measures designed to improve housing affordability across NSW.

These policies take into account the difficulty that first home buyers face in entering the market, the state’s growing population and the need to ensure that development occurs close to essential infrastructure such as roads, railway lines and schools.

The package aims to give home buyers a fair go by

Give0Dfirst home buyers0Da fair chance

increasing grants and concessions available to first home buyers


Increase0Dhousing supply at0Dreasonable prices

increasing housing supply at reasonable prices


Accelerate infrastructure to support growing communities

accelerating the delivery of infrastructure to support growing communities

Read the policy in detail

Supporting first home buyers

The NSW Government’s comprehensive package to improve housing affordability is focused on helping first home buyers, who often face stiff competition from investors.

For first home buyers, this comprehensive package will:

  • Tick iconabolish stamp duty on all homes up to $650,000
  • Tick icongive stamp duty relief for homes up to $800,000
  • Tick iconprovide a $10,000 grant for builders of new homes up to $750,000 and purchasers of new homes up to $600,000
  • Tick iconabolish insurance duty on lenders’ mortgage insurance
  • Tick iconensure foreign investors pay higher duties and land taxes
  • Tick iconno longer allow investors to defer paying stamp duty on off-the-plan purchases.

First Home Buyers

  • Stamp duty abolished or reduced. Save up to $24,740 on a $650,000 home
  • Grant of up to $10,000 for builders of new properties worth up to $750,000 and buyers of new properties worth up to $600,000
  • Insurance duty on lenders’ mortgage insurance abolished

Foreign Investors

  • Surcharge on stamp duty doubled from 4% to 8% and surcharge on land tax from 0.75% to 2%
  • Investors of any kind will no longer be able to delay for 12 months paying stamp duty on off-the-plan properties

Stamp duty relief

The duty paid when buying residential property can be an obstacle for first home buyers. For those entering the market, the NSW Government is abolishing this duty on new and existing homes worth up to $650,000.

For properties valued at between $650,000 and $800,000, the duty concession will be gradually reduced.

Concessions on vacant land will remain unchanged.

How much could first home buyers save?

First home purchase priceOrdinary stamp dutySavings for first home buyers
of new dwellings*
Savings for first home buyers
of existing dwellings*
Total stamp duty charges for foreign investors
(surcharge plus stamp duty)**
$500,000 $17,990 $28,768 $18,768 $57,990
$550,000 $20,240 $31,451 $21,451 $64,240
$600,000 $22,490 $34,361 $24,361 $70,490
$650,000 $24,740 $26,857 $26,857 $76,740
$700,000 $26,990 $18,786 $18,786 $82,990
$710,000 $27,440 $17,172 $17,172 $84,240
$750,000 $29,240 $10,950 $10,950 $89,240
$775,000 $30,365 $6,922 $6,922 $92,365
$800,000 $31,490 $2,896 $2,896 $95,490

As at 2017 and subject to change.

*Total of stamp duty exemptions plus first home owners grant plus savings from LMI duty abolition (Genworth LMI Premium Estimator based on a first home buyer with a $50,000 deposit).**Does not include additional land tax surcharge.

When do these stamp duty savings begin?

This change will take effect from 1 July 2017. 

Contracts dated prior to the commencement of these reforms will continue to be eligible for the same grants, concessions, and conditions for which they would have been eligible had these changes not occurred.

First Home Owners Grant (New Homes)

First home buyers building a new property will be entitled to a $10,000 grant on homes worth up to $750,000.

First home buyers purchasing a new property worth up to $600,000 will be entitled to a $10,000 grant.

This policy aims to provide assistance to first home buyers and stimulate the construction of new dwellings.

The $5,000 New Home Grant Scheme, which was available to other buyers including investors, will be closed.

Insurance duty on lenders’ mortgage insurance abolished

Insurance duty on lenders’ mortgage insurance is imposed at a rate of nine per cent of the premium. The removal of this duty will save all home buyers (first home buyers or not) money if they need lenders’ mortgage insurance.

This policy will take effect from 1 July 2017.

For example, on a home valued at $800,000, a buyer with a deposit of $50,000 who needs lenders’ mortgage insurance, could save about $2,900.

Foreign investors to pay higher duties

Foreign investors will pay higher surcharges when they purchase residential real estate. The surcharge on stamp duty paid on new purchases by foreign investors will double from four per cent to eight per cent, and the surcharge on land tax will rise from 0.75 per cent to two per cent. Foreign developers will be exempt from the increased surcharges.

No more stamp duty deferral for investors

First home buyers often face strong competition for properties from investors. To help counter this, the NSW Government is abolishing the 12-month deferral of duty for residential off-the-plan purchases by investors.

Buyers who are purchasing a home they plan to live in off-the-plan (regardless of whether they are first home buyers or not) will still be entitled to a 12-month delay in the payment of stamp duty, deferring payment from 3 to 15 months after the date of the contract. But this concession will be closed to investors.

This policy will take effect from 1 July.

Boosting supply in Sydney

The NSW Government is committed to improving housing affordability by increasing housing supply, including by accelerating rezoning and building infrastructure such as roads, schools and utilities that can enable development. The NSW Government will work with councils to provide the right conditions for developers to supply enough new housing in the right places.

More housing in the right areas

The NSW Government wants to ensure there are enough homes built to meet the growing population. However supply needs to be in the right areas, and the housing needs to be the right type and take into consideration the unique character of local neighbourhoods. Communities and councils have the lead role in determining where new housing can be delivered and how this can be done with respect to the character of the local neighbourhood.

The NSW Government has asked the Greater Sydney Commission to provide housing targets for each local council as part of its final District Plans.

To help councils, the NSW Government will make up to $2.5 million available to 10 priority councils to assist them to update their Local Environment Plans (LEPs) with appropriate housing targets within two years. Incentive payments will also be available to up to five other councils that volunteer to update their LEPs.

The NSW Government will also issue guidelines to assist councils to protect the character of important local areas, while supporting increased housing supply.

Expanding priority precincts and growth areas

Housing Supply Table Overall Map

The NSW Government will expand the Priority Precincts identified for growth and revitalisation in Sydney to include more areas and fast-track the delivery of new homes in these areas. The expansion of these precincts, which will deliver around 30,000 additional homes, will allow for the acceleration of rezoning and for modern, more diverse developments to be built.

This expansion will ensure an increase in the supply of housing in:

  • Belmore/Lakemba
  • Burwood/Strathfield/Homebush
  • Campsie/Canterbury
  • Cherrybrook (government land)
  • Frenchs Forest
  • Glenfield
  • Leppington town centre
  • Anzac Parade corridor
  • Riverwood
  • Schofields town centre
  • Seven Hills/Wentworthville
  • St Leonards/Crows Nest
  • Telopea
  • Turrella/Bardwell Park
  • Westmead.

Accelerate council-led rezonings

A specialist team will be established within the Department of Planning and Environment to accelerate council rezonings in Sydney and regional areas. This will accelerate the supply of available housing capacity by rezoning greenfield and urban renewal sites.

Faster approvals

The NSW Government will introduce a range of measures to help councils speed up approvals. This could include independent panels for some councils to ensure Development Applications (DAs) are done efficiently and to ensure the integrity of the planning process. Under this measure, independent panels will determine DAs, other than smaller DAs delegated to council staff.

The NSW Government will also:

  • simplify the complying development rules for greenfield areas and align standards with the housing types delivered in these areas under a Greenfield Housing Code
  • establish a team within the Department of Planning and Environment of district case managers and an Office of Housing Coordinator to resolve impediments between councils, the government and home builders.

Building smaller, smarter homes where appropriate

The NSW Government will:

  • expand complying development (a fast track approval process) to include medium density housing such as terraces, town houses and dual occupancy under a medium density housing code
  • require the NSW Government’s land development agency, Landcom, to take an active role to support housing affordability
  • work to deliver smarter and more compact apartments in well located areas. This will reduce construction costs for new apartment buildings, a saving which can be passed on to home buyers. Further measures being explored would allow apartments to be sold separately to parking spaces, giving home owners the flexibility to sell a car space if they wish.

More infrastructure

Increasing housing supply is only possible if there is adequate infrastructure to service new homes and support communities.

The NSW Government will boost infrastructure funding to accelerate the delivery of housing, ensuring that works which support housing are prioritised and in locations in alignment with government planning and housing demand.

The NSW Government will provide access to around $3 billion in infrastructure funding to accelerate the delivery of housing. This funding will include more direct infrastructure funding, support for councils to borrow funds so they can bring forward capital works and reforms to infrastructure contributions to ensure that developers make a fair contribution towards the costs of establishing communities.


NSW Government is investing a record $73.2 billion in infrastructure across the state

Key transport projects include WestConnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro, CBD and South East Light Rail, Parramatta Light Rail, B-line buses

And across regional NSW the revitalisation of Newcastle and the Pacific, Princes and Great Western Highway upgrades

More state infrastructure 

The NSW Government will contribute $1.6 billion, including new funding of $600 million made available through Restart NSW for the Housing Acceleration Fund. An additional $1 billion from the state capital program will be redirected towards priority projects to support housing.

The NSW Government is investing heavily in infrastructure statewide, with millions of dollars committed to new and redeveloped hospitals, classrooms, better sporting facilities and transport hubs.

More local infrastructure 

To bring forward the delivery of local infrastructure to support housing supply, the NSW Government will support up to $500 million in additional borrowing by councils by halving the cost of council borrowing for eligible projects. This will give councils greater certainty in delivering essential local infrastructure including roads, stormwater facilities and public open spaces. An allocation of $369 million will be made to councils for local infrastructure under the phase out of the Local Infrastructure Growth Scheme.

Reforming infrastructure funding

The NSW Government is keen to ensure that developers make a fair and appropriate financial contribution towards the cost of infrastructure.

Development contributions help cover the cost of delivering infrastructure needed to support new communities and homes. Special Infrastructure Contributions (SIC) help fund the regional infrastructure that supports different communities across the state. They partially fund state or regional roads and land required for social infrastructure such as schools, health care and emergency services. SICs will be expanded to 10 additional areas across Sydney to help fund infrastructure in communities with significant housing growth.

The Local Infrastructure Growth Scheme (LIGS) has in the past been used to fund the gap between the maximum contribution that councils can charge developers and what it actually costs councils to deliver the infrastructure. 

The NSW Government will continue to provide LIGS subsidies to certain areas for the next three years before ending the scheme. The subsidies will be gradually reduced and the cap on developer contributions gradually increased. The cap will be increased by $5,000 on 1 January 2018, 1 July 2018 and 1 July 2019. At the end of 2019/20, the cap will be removed entirely and LIGS funding will cease. The phaseout of LIGS will help developers adjust to the change.

The LIGS will be closed to any other new areas. In these areas, the cap on developer contributions will be removed immediately. By removing the cap on contributions, the NSW Government will assist councils in these other areas to fund local infrastructure directly through their developer contributions. In these areas, if contribution rates exceed the current cap levels ($20,000 for infill and $30,000 for greenfield), contributions plans will be subject to review by IPART in accordance with the Essential Works List prior to allowing development to be charged the full apportioned contribution rate. This will help to put downward pressure on local infrastructure costs and ensure that only appropriate, efficient infrastructure is funded through developer contributions.

Steps to housing


Step 1

More land released and rezoned


Step 2

Faster building approvals


Step 3

Developers to make a greater contribution towards enabling infrastructure upfront to unlock housing supply


Step 4

Councils assisted to build local infrastructure like roads, community centres and public open space


Step 5

State funded capital works like public transport, schools and hospitals

Focusing on results

Housing affordability is a long-term priority for the NSW Government.

The NSW Government will establish a Premier’s Priority on Housing Affordability which has a headline goal of increasing the number of dwelling completions to 61,000, on average, per financial year to 2020-21.

Two targets will contribute to achieving this goal: faster housing approvals (90 per cent of approvals determined within 40 days by 2019) and a new target of state-led rezoning for 10,000 additional dwellings in appropriate areas per year, on average, to 2020-21.

The NSW Government will also establish a ministerial task force on housing affordability to allocate priority infrastructure funding, hold government and councils accountable for the delivery of housing targets and drive the implementation of this strategy.

Former RBA governor Glenn Stevens

The NSW Government's housing affordability package has been developed with the oversight of former Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens.

Read his report to the Premier
Download the report (PDF, 485kb)

Steps taken so far

The NSW Government has boosted the supply of housing and supported this with record investment in infrastructure. Initiatives which have helped put downward pressure on housing prices and address housing affordability so far include housing completions, opening up more land, assistance for first home owners and other home buyers and delivering housing infrastructure.

Building more homes

In 2016 more homes were being built in NSW than at any other time in the state’s history. A record 60,000 homes were completed, more than double the number finished in 2010. As at December 2016 a record 83,000 homes were under construction in NSW. Overall approvals for housing also reached record highs, climbing to more than 70,000. New housing completions in Greater Sydney also continue to break records, with the keys handed over for 37,608 new homes in the year to March 2017.

Opening up more land 

More land has been released and rezoned than ever before to create new communities. Sydney now has the highest amount of released and rezoned greenfield stock since land-release programs began in the early 1980s. To ensure developments are in the right place, the NSW Government is planning for new transport infrastructure to be built at the same time as housing. 

Actions are not just about delivering new greenfield sites. The NSW Government is also reforming the planning system so that more low-rise, medium-sized homes such as terraces, townhouses and apartments – which require less land – can be built, providing more choice to home buyers.

Assistance for first home owners and other home buyers

Since 2011, the NSW Government has provided more than $1 billion in assistance to first and new home buyers. This has included grants, stamp duty exemptions and discounts, mainly targeted at unlocking new homes for first home buyers.

Creating housing infrastructure

The NSW Government is investing a record $73.2 billion in infrastructure over the next four years, including on roads, schools, hospitals and public transport which will help support new communities and provide homes closer to workplaces. Since 2012, almost $1 billion in extra money has been committed, through the Housing Acceleration Fund, towards infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity networks, specifically funded to speed up the delivery of new homes.

Published 1st June, 2017 in Business and Economy, Living in NSW
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